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Eight: Remembering Severus


November the fifth came much faster than Harry was expecting. The morning of was not unlike the last funeral Harry had attended; he was wearing black dress robes, and it was raining. This morning though, Harry had decided not to try and flatten his hair.

Once the three of them were ready, Harry, Ron and Hermione set out of their flat towards the Hogwarts grounds. Harry was clutching the parchment containing his speech on it, but all he could think about was whether it would be enough. He and Hermione had spent weeks working on it; she had been very good at helping him put his feelings on paper. Still, he doubted himself.

Hermione cast a protective charm around the three of them as they walked, keeping off the rain. Other people in Harry’s year walked nearby; Seamus, Dean and Neville, the Patil twins. They were all clad in black for the memorial.

The castle gates were open when the trio arrived. Filch stood there, his usual grumpy self, ushering the graduates on to the ground. As they walked, the crowd of mourners came into view. It was mostly students and teachers, although Harry noticed some members of the Order there too. Luna and Ginny were standing off to the edge, and when the trio approached they came to join them.

Ginny hugged Harry tightly. “How’s your speech?” she asked quietly.

“It’s not enough.” Harry said, trying a smile. It ended up more like a grimace.

“You’ll be good. Just speak from your heart and everything will be great.” Said Ginny, reaching up to move some wet hair out of his eyes. Harry fiddled with his parchment.

“Oh look, McGonagall’s signalling you, Harry.” Hermione said, pointing towards the front of the crowd where McGonagall stood, looking at Harry and beckoning.

Fiddling with his parchment, Harry walked up to the front of the crowd and stopped. Beside him sat a painting of the former Potion’s Master. The picture-Snape was looking around at the crowd. Harry had to look away. He couldn’t even meet the portrait’s eyes.

Harry looked back at the crowd, who were silent, waiting expectantly. Taking a breath, he unfolded the wrinkled parchment and smoothed it out, although he seemed to have permanently crumpled it.

“Hello - everyone.” Harry started, his voice low and croaky. He cleared his throat and tried again. “Hello, everyone.” That was better.

“Today I’d like you to listen to a story. It’s an important story, and not one that is very well known. But it should be known to all of you. It deserves to be told. And I encourage you to spread this story to others, so that they might understand the truth about Severus Snape.” Harry stopped for a second, almost to see if anyone would protest, but then he continued,

“There are a number of lies being spread about Professor Snape’s life. He’s a Death Eater. He deceived Albus Dumbledore. All lies. What you saw on the tower when Dumbledore died was not what it seemed. Let me explain, by telling part of my own story, and part of Professor Snape’s.”

“I can honestly say, that I have never enjoyed the company of Severus Snape. I met him in my first year, when he was my Potion’s Teacher. Most of you students, especially if you aren’t in Slytherin, can agree with me when I say Snape can make life difficult for you. I positively dreaded Snape in my first and second year, though evidence clearly pointed that I should think the opposite way. Snape saved my life in my first year, and in my third, he tried again to save me again, though I didn’t really acknowledge it. At this point, you might think I’d be a bit more sympathetic, but no, and there are many more reasons for this.”

“I also found out, that year about my father, and Snape. Snape and my father were definitely less than friends. In fact, my father was known to pick on Snape. But Snape told me, angry, of course, that my father had saved his life when he had almost wandered into the path of a werewolf. This only helped in confusing my feelings about Snape and my father even more.”

“In my fourth year, I discovered that Snape was a former Death Eater, and instantly took this as more evidence against him. I had inherited my father’s hate for the man, I admit it. But then again, Snape had always carried his grudge against my father to me too.”

“And then, in my sixth year, I saw Snape murder Dumbledore before my very eyes. This confirmed all my suspicions, and my hate for Snape grew intensely until I’m not ashamed to say, I wanted him to die. He killed Dumbledore. And I thought he should be killed for it.”
Harry stopped for a second to observe the audience. Their faces were all grave. Except for one woman, standing slightly apart from the others, who was smiling. Brushing it off, Harry turned over his parchment and kept going.

“It wasn’t until right before I killed Voldemort that I learned the truth about my former Potion’s Teacher. I watched as Voldemort cruelly disposed of him, for his own gains, and then as Snape died, he lent me his memories, so I am able to tell you the truth here today.”
“One of the first things I found, was that my mother had always been very good friends with Severus Snape. They had lived near each other before they started school, and even though they were sorted into different houses, remained friends.”

“As they grew older, my father began picking on Snape, and Snape started hanging out with those who would become Death Eaters later on. My mother disapproved of both of those habits; she absolutely despised my father and tried to get Snape to stop spending time with the Death Eaters. Then something happened that ruined their friendship forever.”

Harry went on explaining how the relationship between Snape and Lily had ended, and how Snape had become involved with Voldemort. He went on to explain how Snape had asked Voldemort to spare Lily’s life, and how she had died anyway. Harry found that re-living what he had seen in the pensieve was positively cleansing; it was as if all the bad memories were just washing out of him.

“…and so, Snape promised to protect me, for my mother, whom he loved. His patronus remained a doe until his death, just the same as my mother’s. This is what convinced Dumbledore of his loyalty.” Harry stopped and took a look at the audience.

“I know you’re all still wondering why Snape killed Dumbledore. In truth, it had been planned since the beginning of the school year two years ago. Dumbledore sustained an injury while doing something to fight Voldemort. He always knew he was going to die, so he arranged that Snape would kill him, to save a certain student by the name of Draco Malfoy,” At that moment, Harry was glad that Malfoy was taking his NEWTs with a private tutor, according to Seamus, and was not attending the memorial.

“Draco was ordered by Voldemort to kill the Headmaster, but Dumbledore did not want to taint such a young soul.” Harry almost cringed at the Hermione-ish phrase, but continued and explained the plot to wide eyes and dropped jaws, and went on to tell of Dumbledore’s instructions to Snape during the year.

“So, here are my final thoughts on Severus Snape. Professor, you know I have never liked you, and I know you generally felt the same way about me.” Harry said, smiling, “But that’s not the best thing to say at a memorial. So I won’t focus on the bad parts of Severus. How he bullied students, and hung out with Death Eaters. How he was a bitter, greasy git.” There were some concerned whispers from the crowd, but Harry was confident about the next part.

“I’m going to focus on the good stuff. Snape stretched out a hand to a small muggleborn, Lily Evans, so many years ago. He made mistakes, but ultimately he saved her son’s life time after time. He made potions to save people he didn’t like, including Remus Lupin. He was bitter, and sad, but he was still selfless and brave enough to conspire against Voldemort for the greater good. And for that, I am able to say this here to you today, and you can quote me on it,” Harry said with a smile, looking over at Ron, Hermione and Ginny.

“Professor, I am sorry. And I do believe that Severus Snape may be the bravest man I have ever met.” Harry finished looking down at his parchment, but his head popped up as the crowd roared with applause. He smiled weakly and wandered back through crowd towards his friends. Suddenly, he felt someone take his arm.

“Harry, I need to talk to you.” It was the woman who had been smiling earlier on during Harry’s speech. Harry was able to get a better look at her now. She was a little older than him, in her twenties, he thought. She had wispy brown hair tied back behind her head, and coal black eyes. Harry thought they were almost kind of familiar.

“My name is Runa Prince. I – “

“You’re related to Snape.”

“Yes, I’m his half-sister.” Runa said, staring straight at him. Her eyes were piercing, even worse than Voldemort, and Harry had to look away.

“Are you…are you using Legilimency?”

“Sort of, I’ll explain once we get out of this crowd. Can you apparate?” Harry nodded, and before he could do anything, Runa took his arm. Suddenly things were black and tight, and then Harry’s feet were on the ground again.

Harry shook his head and looked around once he could see again. In his view was a tiny cottage in a forest clearing. Harry shook his head again, wondering what he had gotten himself into. He had just met this girl, and now he was going right into her house. Ginny, Ron and Hermione would be looking for him.

Runa walked up the front steps of the door, opened it and beckoned him inside. Harry was too far now to turn back, so he followed her.

“How did you apparate us from the Hogwart’s grounds?” Harry asked as Runa shut the door behind her.

“They got rid of the spells on the grounds for the memorial. People were coming from all over.” Harry nodded and looked around the small cottage. They were in a sitting room; it was neat, with books stacked on shelves, and a fireplace in the corner. Runa took out a purple coloured wand and pointed it at the fire place. Flames leapt up, instantly warming the room.
Harry sat down beside Runa.

“Why is your wand purple?” Harry asked. He figured while he was here he ought to find some things out.

“I’m the most highly skilled Legilimens in the Wizarding world.” Runa said, as if that answered Harry’s question. He must have looked confused, because she explained,

“I’m able to read minds without a wand now, but I used to use this one while I as training. It’s made of a special type of wood.” Runa said.

“You can read minds? Why did you bring me here?”

“I wanted to talk about my brother with you. You knew a lot about him. The guilt is eating you up inside.”

“You just want to help me?”

“Who else to help you than his half-sister?” Harry’s eyes narrowed, this was more than slightly strange.

“What are you going to do?”

“I’m going to heal your memories.” Runa said casually, as if this was nothing. Harry leapt back.

“What?”

“I told you, I’m the most highly skilled Legilimens there is. I can access those pained memories and paint them in a different light, so to speak. It will help you; let you get on with your life. I know it sounds -”

“Why are you doing this?”

“I want you to tell me about my brother,” Runa said. Suddenly her eyes were full of tears, “My mother and father both left me when I was young. I never went to Hogwarts; I had a tutor to develop my abilities. Severus cared for me, he loved me. But he left, right before Voldemort came to you. He loved your mother more than me.” Runa whispered, looking down, “I was only five years old when he left me. My tutor raised me, but he died when I was seventeen.” Runa wiped away some of her tears.

“By healing your memories, I can learn of my brother.” Runa said, “Will you let me?”

Suddenly, all of Harry’s guilt for how he had treated Snape came pounding down on top of him. Could he re-pay Snape by helping his little sister? Do it, His mind whispered to him. He shut his eyes, and then opened them. Runa was looking at him. It was strange to see Snape’s eyes reflected back at Harry, though instead of being cold and dark, they were filled with warmth.

“All right,” he said, “I’ll do it.” She smiled.

“Great. Shut your eyes and lie down. I promise this won’t hurt a bit.” Harry complied.

***

“Ughhhh…”Harry groaned as he came back to consciousness. His head was pounding. This was ten times worse than any hangover.

“Am I hung-over?” Harry moaned at the person who was nearby. He opened an eye. It was Runa, wearing different clothing. And Harry was no longer in the sitting room. He was lying in a half-lit bedroom; sunlight was shining through a gap in the blue curtains.

“Did you change your clothes?” Harry asked, rubbing his head. Runa smiled.

“You’ve been down for three days.” Runa explained, smiling meekly. Harry sat up and his head protested.

“WHAT?” He asked. Ginny would kill him.

“Those memories were a lot worse than I imagined.” Runa explained, wringing her hands. Harry automatically thought of Snape. It had worked. The memories seemed fainter, almost as if Harry was looking at them through a frosted window pane. And the guilt that normally seized him at the thought, had subsided.

“I have a girlfriend, you know! And flatmates! And school!” Harry moaned, standing up.

“They’re going to kill me. Thank you, but I have to go.” Harry ran outside and apparated, regret squeezing him more tightly than any Apparition.

{A/N} This chapter may be slightly depressing to some of Sevvie's adoring fans :) I know it's a bit cliché to give Snape a sister, but Runa is a very important character and her daughter even more so :) But she and her daughter don't really pop up again for a long long time. So don't expect anything :P

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